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The first movement is characterized by strong accents and motor rhythms. A wedged-shape opening theme is contrasted with a darker, smoother second theme. The movement has traces of sonata form though the structure is treated with freedom. A mysterious middle section builds to a climax, leading to a highly truncated and varied recapitulation.
In the second movement a florid flute melody contrasts with a heavy chordal motif on the piano. The somber mood is lightened a little by a higher pitched second idea that, nonetheless, has a rather sinister character. Towards the end, the flute part becomes freer in rhythm, like a small cadenza, and anticipates ideas in the third movement.
This final movement is connected to the second without a break, and is dance-like in mood. A quirky opening theme builds to a more robust second idea. As these ideas are developed a waltz-like section appears on the piano, contrasted with a more lyrical theme on flute. A reversed recapitulation of themes leads to a quicker coda, and the work ends with a flourish.
Commissioned by Alexa Still
Dedicated to Alexa Still
I. allegro barbaro; II. adagio con rubato; III. allegro molto